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June 7, 2013

Former Highlander Thompson taken by Tigers

U of L star taken with 94th overall pick

LOUISVILLE — LOUISVILLE — Former Floyd Central Highlander and current Louisville Cardinal Jeff Thompson was selected in the third round — the 94th pick overall — by the Detroit Tigers in Friday’s Major League Baseball draft.

The Louisville junior has his college team playing in the College Baseball World Series Super Regional at Vanderbilt after posting a 10-1 record with a 2.06 ERA.

Thompson, who was also a football and basketball star at Floyd, has 100 strikeouts and 31 walks in 15 starts (96.1 innings) in 2013.

The 6-foot-6, 245-pounder had a 28-inning scoreless streak in March and has a fastball in the low- to- mid-90s.

According to MLB.com, Thompson “brings an imposing presence to the mound as a right-hander.”

Thompson was the second Cardinal to be taken in the third round. Earlier in the round, pitcher Dace Kime was selected 79th overall by the Indians.

New Castle High School’s Trey Ball was drafted with the seventh overall pick by the Boston Red Sox. Ball is a standout pitcher and hitter — rated as the best two-way player in the draft — and on which position he’ll land has yet to be determined.

Ball went 6-0 with a 0.76 ERA with 93 strikeouts and 13 walks and hit 94 mph on the speed gun. He also had 10 stolen bases, 10 home runs and 31 walks while being mostly pitched around as a senior at New Castle.

Indiana State lefthanded pitcher Sean Manaea went 34th overall to the Kansas City Royals. Manaea was projected as a top-5 pick during the summer after going 5-1 with a 1.22 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 51 innings at the Cape Cod League. However, a hip injury caused the former Andrean star’s fastball pace — and subsequently his draft position — to drop.

Indiana University had a pair of players selected by the Minnesota Twins on Friday. Righthander Aaron Siegers went 140th overall and third baseman Dustin DeMuth went 230th overall.

First baseman Conrad Gregor from Carmel, who is a junior at Vanderbilt, was taken fourth round by the Houston Astros. Gregor and the Commodores plays Louisville beginning today in the College Baseball Super Regional at Nashville.

The Cincinnati Reds took Samford University centerfielder Phillip Ervin with the 27th pick in the first round. Ervin, who was the MVP of the Cape Cod Summer League, has great speed and some power. The Leroy, Ala., native batted .337 with 11 home runs, 40 RBIs and 21 stole bases as a junior.

“He’s what we call a five-tool player. [He] has a chance to be a complete player. We see him as a center fielder. We thought he was the best player when it was our turn to pick,” Reds senior director of scouting Chris Buckley explained.

The Reds followed the Ervin selection with Michael Lorenzen (Cal State Fullerton RHP) at No. 38 overall, Kevin Franklin (Gahr H.S., Calif., 3B) at No. 67 and Mark Armstrong (Clarence H.S., N.Y., RHP) with the 104th pick.

Stanford pitcher Mark Appel was taken No. 1 overall by the Astros. Appel, who had 130 strikeouts and just 23 walks during his senior season, is a native of Houston.

The Chicago Cubs took University of San Diego’s Kris Bryant — a power-hitting junior third baseman — with the second pick overall.

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